It has been conclusively shown that he was the son of Llywelyn ap Maredudd, the last vassal lord of Meirionydd, who had been deprived of his patrimony for opposing Llywelyn ap Gruffydd in 1256 (see Llywelyn Fawr and Llywelyn Fychan — lords of Meirionydd). Llywelyn lived in England as a royal pensioner, and after his death in 1263, Madog continued in favour at the English court. During the year 1277 he was the recipient of two substantial monetary ‘gifts’ from the king's ‘wardrobe,’ his claim to Meirionydd being tacitly recognized by the Crown; in 1278 he actually sued Llywelyn ap Gruffydd before the king's justices for the recovery of the cantref. After 1282 he appears to have returned to Wales and to have received lands in Anglesey. His kinship with the old reigning house of Aberffraw (he was fifth-cousin to Llywelyn ap Gruffydd) now inspired him to assume the role of patriot leader. When, hard-pressed by a combination of grievances, the people of Wales rose against their oppressors in 1294, Madog placed himself at the head of the North Wales insurgents and claimed to be ‘Prince of Wales.’ The revolt began well for the rebels, and during the winter of 1294-5 they kept Edward on the defensive in the neighbourhood of Conway. In March, however, Madog led a force into Powys, where, being taken unawares by the earl of Warwick, he was defeated with heavy losses on the field of Maes Meidog (or Moydog) in Caereinion. He barely escaped with his life into the hills of Snowdonia where he remained a fugitive until his unconditional surrender to John de Havering late in July or in early Aug. 1295. He was taken to London, and though he did not suffer the supreme penalty, his subsequent fate is unknown.
Published date: 1959
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